There’s one word that’s thrown around so often these days, as an explanation, an excuse and even a reason for being.
How many times have you read a text that said, “Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you, I’ve been so BUSY!”
Or, how many times have you said, “I’ve been meaning to start that project but I’ve been so BUSY!”
Sometimes we use it as a point of pride, as if being busy is an achievement unto itself. “I’ve been so BUSY, I’ve only gotten six hours of sleep the past two days!”
But what exactly are we so busy doing? Is it really necessary to run ourselves this hard — or is there an easier way to get the same (or better) results?
Every once in awhile, something happens that knocks off the hamster wheel and forces us to take a long, hard look at our lives and change our priorities. We have a baby, we get sick or we lose someone close to us.
And then suddenly, we stop being so busy just for the sake of being busy. The things we choose to do are the things that are truly important to us, because we literally do not have time for anything else. And we get more done faster, because we don’t have the luxury of lots of time to waste.
You don’t have to experience a major life change to shift your priorities and become more efficient. You can do it now! Here’s how…
1. Make a list of everything you do in a typical week.
This can be a quick list, or you can get real nerdy about it and actually track everything you do throughout the day using an app like My Hours or Toggl.
Sometimes this exercise alone can be a real wakeup call. “You mean I spend 3 hours a day on Instagram?!”
2. Make a list of everything you want to do in a typical week, but are too “busy” to do.
This could include hobbies like gardening or reading, wellness activities like going to the gym or meditating, social activities like date night or lunch with a friend, or a passion project that you’ve thought about doing for years.
3. Cross off tasks from the first list to make room for tasks on the second.
Are there tasks that you aren’t good at or don’t like doing that you can outsource — or eliminate?
Maybe it’s dropping off or picking up your kids from school. Maybe that task cuts into your prime work time and is something you wouldn’t mind giving to someone else. Maybe there’s a parent whose kids you could offer to drop off in the morning if they pick up yours in the afternoon.
Maybe you spend a few hours a week in the gym and hate it — and you’ve always wanted to try aerial dancing. Give yourself permission to skip the gym and dance your heart out!
Maybe you’re spending so much time watching TV and scrolling through social media that you’ve completely abandoned your hobbies — or never have any quality time with your partner. What’s worth more to you?
4. Become more efficient at the tasks that you do.
How can you become better at work tasks? How can you cut corners to save more time?
If you’re spending more hours than you’d like on shopping for and preparing meals, maybe you could incorporate easy Crockpot meals into your routine, cook in big batches that you freeze for later, or use a grocery delivery service.
If you work eight hours a day and you never seem to get the important things done, maybe you could change your schedule so you’re working when you’re most alert — or cut back your hours. Research shows that working a shorter day can make us more productive because we’re less tired, less stressed and more focused.
If you’re too busy working to exercise, could you invest in a treadmill desk? Sometimes multitasking works!
5. Maximize your resources.
We live in the age of technology, information and connectivity. Embrace the tools that make your life easier, learn new skills from books and courses and ask for help when you need it. There’s no need to be a one-person island, struggling to get it all done!
Is there software that can help you do your job more effectively?
Is there a course that can help you get to the next level in your business in less time?
Do you have an acquaintance who could do graphics for your business if you help her become a better public speaker?
There are so many resources available. Make them work for you!
So, what are you going to do this week to stop being so “busy” and get more done? What tasks will you drop to make room for things that are more important to you? Leave me a comment and let me know!
As Siqi Chen said, “Life is short. Do stuff that matters.”